Jillian R.
I had to tell off a maid who is working in our building today. Yes HAD to. I'm not proud of it but I would be lying if I said I didn't draw some satisfaction from giving her an earful.

Here's why.

First of all, I don't get why a large number of people think that elevators would arrive sooner if they hit both the "Up" and "Down" buttons at the same time. Yes, the elevator would come sooner, but then it would take you the wrong direction, so why do that? Just hit the right button and wait! Anyway, both buttons were already hit when the doggies and I came into the apartment lobby yesterday.

We were going up, so when the doors to the elevator which was going down opened, we continued waiting. Then, out of nowhere (well, from outside really), the maid ran into the lobby, pushed past us, and took the elevator (which was going up) that just arrived. And because she pushed past us and startled the dogs a little, Ginger got close enough to sniff her clothes as she was brushing past us. She gave me a look with the utmost annoyance as the elevator doors closed. I get it, she didn't want to be in the elevator with the dogs (and hates dogs - and therefore hates humans), but;
a) she has to wait her turn and
b) I would have let her have it first if she hadn't pushed past us

I was not happy.

I'm not being petty. We treat everyone in the building with respect, be it they are residents or their help. I personally do not agree with the way some of the domestic helpers are being treated here and I want to do my part in treating people like human beings. Both Eric and I have held doors opened for this particular maid even though she has never said Thank You. Many times after we held the building doors open for her, she would march past us and straight into an elevator. I've even smiled at her several times but only gotten either blank expressions or scowls back.

I would look past the rudeness (she probably never had a proper upbringing) if not for the pushing.

I saw her again this morning as I was heading into the lobby.

Me: Hey, listen, I didn't like it when you RAN in from outside and PUSH past us and RAN into the elevator yesterday. They're shared elevators, you can't just run in and push past people, you have to wait. What is wrong with you?

The Maid: *indignant lookI didn't run

Me: Ok, then you can't just WALK in from outside and PUSH past people and WALK into the elevator like that. We were here first, you have to wait your turn.

The Maid: *continues staring at me*

Me: You better not do that again, I don't like that

She didn't answer.

I think I was being very polite about it. I didn't even call her a b*tch. I only did that in my head.

How else should I have handled this? I shouldn't get pushed aside by a domestic helper!
Jillian R.
You know how if there's a fire, the fire alarm goes off and everyone runs out of the building and gather at an empty space nearby until further instructions?

Well here in the Middle East, that might not always be the case.

There was a fire in our building last Tuesday and we didn't even know about it. At about 6.15pm, as usual, the doggies were hanging out in Eric's study where there's a sofa/bed near the window; which happens to be their favorite spot to sit (or rather, stand on the hind legs) and look out the window. As their "mom", I would usually join them and ask "What are you looking at? What are the workers doing?". They usually lose interest after a while, get off, run around a bit and then jump back up for another look. That day they were staring out the window for a really long time. So, I got curious and went to look too.

That's when I saw about two firetrucks (and a little station wagon) lined up across the street. Then a few moments later a third one pulled up.

(Fire trucks across the street from our building)

(The third fire truck)

But what struck me as strange was that the firemen (and street spectators) were just standing there, staring up at our building.

 (Firemen starting to leave the scene. Moments ago, they were all staring up at our building)

(This is a favorite "hang out" spot for construction workers, the fire surely provided some entertainment. Oh, this is also Jester and Ginger's favorite pee-pee-doo-doo spot. Hmm...)

No one was spraying any water and of course, no ringing fire alarm. I immediately thought maybe someone fell off the building or committed suicide. Wouldn't you think that? It's the only logical explanation! So I grabbed Eric and we both headed downstairs to ask the watchmen what was going on.

Then, we were greeted by smoke in the hallway;

Okay, the smoke was faint and it doesn't really show in this picture. There was however a strong burned smell. The elevators seemed to be working and we are on the 1st Floor so we hopped into one.

When we got down to the lobby, there were firemen (just) standing around; chatting with each other. We asked the first one we saw if there was a fire, he said "Yes, but only small one, no problem". Really? There was a fire in the building - an apartment building and no one was evacuated? Great!

We went out to the streets and joined a few of our neighbors, it turned out that the fire was on the 10th floor, it was indeed a small one and it had been put out. No one was hurt.

However, what concerns me is that;
a) there was a fire in the building and we didn't know about it
b) no one hit the fire alarm - what if the fire grew and we only knew about it when we saw smoke in the apartment and it was too late?
c) if it was really just small fire, why were there at least 20-30 firemen and three firetrucks (and a small station wagon)?

Anyway, we spoke to the watchmen later that night and were told that;
a) the fire alarm never went off because they turned it off
b) why? Because people were smoking in the hallways and fire escapes and it could trigger the fire alarm all the time
c) they would turn on the fire alarm the next morning
d) no one should smoke in the hallways and fire escapes and people should not even burn incense in their own apartments because the fire alarm system is VERY sensitive and somehow smoke will seep out from under closed doors and trigger it

I've since then burned a huge amount of incense in the house and it hasn't triggered the fire alarm - YET.

Oh, it seemed that a news crew came that day after the fire was put out, but since we don't watch local TV, we'll never know if we were on the news.

(Another station wagon - belonging to the news crew)

Thus ends another unexplained story from the Middle East. Enjoy!
Jillian R.
Ever had to play wire maze with your cables? Y'know, needing to unplug something from the power source but because all your computer wires are entwined together in an impossible knot, you have to grab a random one and follow it back to the source? Kinda like when we were kids and had to connect the dots with a crayon to help the rabbit to its carrot (or a mouse to its cheese). Yeah, like that.

Well, I never had this problem because when I set up my computer/laptop myself, I make sure to twist/zip tie the cables individually according to length so that they don't dangle and/or tangle themselves. I don't understand why they don't teach this in school. It's so convenient, neat, and say, if there's a fire and you need to save your beloved keyboard (or mouse), you know exactly which cable to pluck!

Anyway, Eric set up my desktop computer when we moved here, and let's just say that he never learned how to tie-up cables in school. For weeks (okay, I procrastinated!) I see the giant knot of wires dangling from behind my work desk and for weeks I'd say "today I need to tie those up", but every time I wanted to get into it, I panic just a little because the knot is GIANT and every cable is curled around another. Once my webcam stopped working and needed to be unplugged and plugged in again. I couldn't find which USB port its cable led to, so I got very angry, ran away from the computer and took a nap with the doggies. What if I didn't have doggies?!

I love my husband but I don't know how he sleeps at night!

This morning, I realized that I couldn't concentrate on my Zuma Blitz game on Facebook because the nagging at the back of my head gets louder every day that I don't get those wires in check.

So I got to work. I turned the computer off, crawled under my table, played wire maze and helped each rabbit find its carrot - without crossing into another rabbit's path.

Oh, and of course, after organizing the cables, I went a step further and made little labels for each of them; because, like I said, if there's a fire, I could easily save my portable drive loaded with precious pictures, music, movies, etc.

To make labels;
1. In intelligible writing (or print), name wires on a piece of paper
2. Cut paper into desired size(s) - (I used graph paper so that every piece is the same height)
3. Wrap labels in clear tape (or laminate if desired)
4. Attach to cables. Voila! Done!

And always remember; dear readers, organizing is fun!!

Jillian R.
An egg tray is something you'd never think you'd need, but once you get one, you won't know why in the world you never owned one before - putting one of these in your refrigerator instantly makes it classier; or at least the way I see it.

(Porcelain Egg Tray from ©Lakeland)

After hearing about this "kitchenware" store in one of the new malls here in Abu Dhabi from several friends; and an invitation to share a taxi with one of our neighbors to the mall, we headed to Mushrif Mall yesterday. It was Eid, and the place wasn't at all crowded (malls here are usually  crowded), in fact, in some of the sections were quite empty. I love Fridays and holidays around this part of the world, on Fridays, the workers get a day off from the construction sites around our apartment and I suppose the residents either chill at home or crowd the malls; either way, the streets are empty and I always call it "ghost town". Sometimes a Styrofoam box/piece would roll along like how tumbleweeds do in the ol' towns.

Anyway, one will find most of the baking necessities in the supermarkets here, however, some items are hard to come by and some are non-existent. One of the non-existent items are Madeleine trays. Since leaving mine is Korea when we moved, I've been searching everywhere for these. I've always taken a peek at baking aisles "just to check" if they restocked. Of course, they couldn't restock something that they didn't order. Lakeland's not only had the trays, they are great quality ones! And to quote their website is, "a heavy duty construction that will not twist or warp, with a double layer of durable Quantum 2 non-stick to see you through years of home baking"

(The tray I got. Original website here)

As soon as we got home, I baked a batch of these;

The tray worked extremely well; why? Because I forgot to butter and flour the tray before spooning the batter in and nothing happened! I did the same thing once in Korea with my tin tray and the whole batch was ruined. Luckily that tray was stupid and only had five molds. I mean, why FIVE? Even if people were making half a dozen, it would have to be six!

I got a few other little things from the store because everything was irresistible. There will be a lot of cooking and baking this week; specifically; hosting two dinner parties. I better get to work.

Till next time! 
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